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Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support

B&H # MA393 Mfr # 393
In Stock
Free Expedited Shipping
You Pay: $174.90
Product Highlights
  • With RC3 Quick Release
  • Replaces #3421
  • Supports Up to 44 lb

The most economical option among Gimbal heads, the Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Telephoto Lens Support puts the tilt axis (up/down) in line with the midpoint of the lens' weight. This makes movement with a large telephoto lens easy enough to be done with one finger. Point the rig where you want, let go and it stays where you left it. Height of the lens is adjustable and there is a built-in pan base.

The built-in 357 quick release assembly allows fore/aft movement within the mount for perfect 50/50 weight distribution. The 357PL quick release plate includes two 1/4"-20 screws (many large tripod collared lenses have two sockets in their collars) and one 3/8"-16 screw. The 393 is appropriate for all telephoto lenses with a tripod collar.

Replaces old part number 3421.

Load Capacity 44.09 lb (20 kg)
Tripod Attachment 3/8" thread
Weight 3.5 lbs (1.6kg)
Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support
  • 357PLV Quick Release Plate for Video
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    Manfrotto393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support
     
    4.7

    (based on 101 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (77)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (22)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (2)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    100%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Stable (83)
    • Attaches firmly (80)
    • Large range of motion (76)
    • Strong clamp (70)
    • Easy to use (12)

    Cons

    • Heavy (44)
    • Heavy / bulky (8)

    Best Uses

    • Wildlife (86)
    • Sports/action (56)
    • Landscape/scenery (34)
    • Night shots (27)
    • Travel (10)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Photo enthusiast (43), Semi-pro photographer (34), Pro photographer (13), Casual photographer (6)
      • Was this a gift?:
      • No (80)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Great Product

    I use this product primarily for bird and wildlife photography in conjunction with my Nikon D7100, a Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D ED-IF Lens, and a 1.4x teleconverter. The camera and lens combination...Read complete review

    I use this product primarily for bird and wildlife photography in conjunction with my Nikon D7100, a Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D ED-IF Lens, and a 1.4x teleconverter. The camera and lens combination mounts and balances extremely well. I was somewhat concerned because the tripod collar on the lens has received reviews of being flimsy and unstable. That is definitely not the case with the 357PLV Quick Release Plate. Lens attachment is very secure and stable with no movement or yaw.

    The gimbal head is well constructed and made of very sturdy materials. Setup is quick and easily adjusted to give you fingertip control of panning and tilt.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    Works OK, but note caveats!

    This is often called the "Poor man's Wimberley". That's a good moniker, because it hints that the only reason to purchase this instead of the Wimberley is budget. I bought the...Read complete review

    This is often called the "Poor man's Wimberley". That's a good moniker, because it hints that the only reason to purchase this instead of the Wimberley is budget. I bought the Manfrotto about a year ago, and thus have a lot of experience with it, but I just upgraded to the Wimberley. Here are my reasons:

    1) On the 393, the yoke wraps around the lens, which obscures all the controls on the lens. When you need to touch up focus or flip one of the switches on the side of your lens, you'll find that your hand encounters the yoke, instead of the lens. It is very awkward to manually focus with this mount (at least with the Canon 500mm f4 IS, which is the primary lens I used with it.)

    2) The RC3 mounting plate is huge. Although it mounts just fine on the Canon 500 foot, if you try mounting one on your camera body to capture some scenics with a normal lens, it will be ridiculously in the way, and you'll take it off immediately after getting your shot. I don't like putting tripod plates on and off each time I change lenses. There is only one plate available for this support, unlike the Wimberley for which the entire line of Swiss-Arca line plates are available, some of which are appropriate to semi-permanent body mounting. Also, Really Right Stuff makes replacement lens feet with an Arca-Swiss mount built right into them, so there is no plate at all! I once got several hundred miles from home before realizing I had not packed the RC3 mounting plate for my Canon 500 lens, so I was dead in the water for shooting.

    3) There is no lock for the pan direction on this head - it floats freely always. That's OK for moving subjects, not so OK for any other use. The Wimberley locks on both axes.

    On the plus side, the RC3 plate and mount are very secure, and less worry to mount and unmount than the Wimberley, with which there is a real fear of dropping the camera. With the Manfrotto, you slide it in just a little, hear a satisfying "click", and know that whatever you do now, you can't lose the camera. A quarter turn of a nicely shaped lever locks it in place. When you go to remove the camera/lens, you release the lever, then push a little button that allows the whole thing to slide out. This became very natural and automatic after a few uses for me - rather like putting the car in "Park" and stepping on the emergency brake. The Wimberley with it's Arca-Swiss clamp takes longer to mount, and I'm concerned about dropping the camera while doing it. Maybe I'll get better at it (I've only had the Wimberley a few days), but it doesn't seem like it will ever match the Manfrotto in mount/dismount security and convenience.

    If you can live with the limitations of the Manfrotto 393, and budget is an important consideration, you'll be happy with it. It has an immense advantage over a conventional ball head for shooting moving subjects.

    By the way, the B&H photo shows the inner yoke above the camera and lens. It can be used this way, but I know few who do, as it makes it even more difficult to get at the controls. The normal orientation is to orient both the inner and outer yokes like the letter "U".

    Reviewed by 101 customers

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    4.0

    preformanc

    By bill

    from whitestone new york

    About Me Casual Photographer

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Attaches Firmly
    • Good Stability
    • Large Range of Motion

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Night Shots
      • Wildlife

      Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

      use for landscapes nature, used it for the supermoon photos, i was very happey with the results

      • Was this a gift?:
      • No

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      3.0

      Good price, loose "drag"

      By Jim

      from Thompson Falls MT

      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Attaches Firmly
      • Good Stability

      Cons

      • Complicated Controls
      • Heavy
      • Small Range

      Best Uses

      • Home
      • Landscape/Scenery
      • Wildlife

      Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

      Bird photography from permanent location, with 600 Nikon EDIF.
      Great price compared to other such gimbal heads.
      Set knobs do NOT retain drag over time, esp. the horizontal knob in the center - it loosens after only a few slight turns and constantly needs to be tightened to prevent "head wiggle".
      Cannot shoot from location into vertical [for example, overhead moon], but that is to be expected I suppose...

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      • No

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      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Good buy on a mostly-good product

      By Tom

      from Western MA

      About Me Casual Photographer

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Attaches Firmly
      • Good Stability
      • Large Range of Motion
      • Strong Clamp

      Cons

      • Fidgety Panning Tension
      • Heavy
      • Obstructs Flash

      Best Uses

      • Wildlife

      Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

      I am quite happy with this gimbal, but it is not without limitations. I will concentrate on what is less than ideal in this review -- not because I find it a bad product, but because they need to be considered before deciding whether this product will serve your needs.

      I got this heavy gimbal head to use with my Induro AT413 tripod legs when going birding with my Sigma 150-500 mm lens (which is pretty much the lightest thing in the setup.) Long lenses are hard to use -- the field of view is quite narrow and, even with OS, finding and tracking your target takes skill and patience. A stable tripod with a good gimbal head really improves the usability of a long lens -- assuming you don't have to lug the setup very far first. The Manfrotto is about as smooth and easy to use as any gimbal head out there, and costs a lot less than the top-of-the-line J-posts.

      There are a couple of down-sides to the Manfrotto, though. First, the only way to switch to portrait orientation is if your lens' tripod collar rotates. Mine does, but it takes a bit of time and fiddling to accomplish that act. Some of the lighter J-arms are designed to attach to a ball head and can be dropped into portrait orientation using the ball head, which is very convenient if you are using a smaller lens. I wouldn't want to try it with my Sigma, but if you're using a smaller lens you might want to consider how you'll be switching between landscape and portrait orientation.

      The Manfrotto presents a problem for people who use flash with their gimbal head -- it can take a flash in landscape orientation, but on-camera flash is not supported by the U-arm configuration in portrait orientation. If you are happy to use off-camera flash with the setup, there's no problem. But, again, if you use flash in portrait orientation, you should give thought to how you will accomplish that with this unit.

      Finally, the thing that I found most irritating was the tension adjustment for panning. The up-and-down motion is easy to adjust the tension with the knobs on the sides of the U-arm. But panning tension requires removing the rubber cover around the tension knob on the bottom, getting a 2.5mm Hex wrench (not included) to loosen the locking screw, and then twisting the adjusting knob. Unfortunately, when you retighten the locking screw, it also tightens up the panning tension a bit more than it had been (at least on my unit.) So it is tricky to get the tension you want on the panning because you need to tighten it a bit less than you want it to be, tighten the set screw, and see if the result is what you want. I had to iterate about a half-dozen times to get the tension I was looking for -- not a deal-breaker, but something that took a bit of the blush off the rose for an otherwise impressive gimbal head.

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      • No

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      5.0

      Good deal

      By Nikon Shooter

      from Dover, DE

      About Me Photo Enthusiast

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Attaches Firmly
      • Good Stability
      • Strong Clamp

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Sports/Action
        • Wildlife

        Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

        At long last I have a stable support mechanism for my 500mm Nikkor lens. A previous device failed to secure the lens which tumbled to the floor damaging the coupling ring that required expensive repair. Thanks B&H for the expert advise on my purchase.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        It looks weird but it WORKS!

        By Gerry

        from Montreal, Canada

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Attaches Firmly
        • Good Stability
        • Large Range of Motion
        • Strong Clamp

        Cons

        • Heavy

        Best Uses

        • Night Shots
        • Sports/Action
        • Wildlife

        Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

        It is great and easily supports my 50-500 mm lens, which, due to ongoing back problems and arthritis, I was having trouble using.
        Thank you,
        g

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        "Awesome" Photo Lens Support!!!

        By AlanKSportsHawaii

        from Hawaii

        About Me Pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Attaches Firmly
        • Good Stability
        • Large Range of Motion
        • Strong Clamp

        Cons

        • Heavy

        Best Uses

        • Home
        • Landscape/Scenery
        • Night Shots
        • Portraits
        • Sports/Action
        • Travel
        • Video
        • Weddings/Events
        • Wildlife

        Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

        Sometimes it's worth buying the best that "works" and hold the load more than 15 lbs and the best I have purchased. I looked at the Jobu Design Junior 3 Deluxe Swing Arm etc., and I must say that I am very pleased with my 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support by Manfrotto. It's awesome, and so maneuverable up and down and left and right with ease! and very sturdy and well built. A bit on the heavy side. Other rigs you have to unlock to move your camera up or down and the ball type it's like have a car on a pencil point and hard to follow a soccer player having to unlock and lock up the ball.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        4.0

        Works like a charm

        By falconsusi

        from Tennessee

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Attaches Firmly
        • Cost Compared To Others
        • Good Stability
        • Heavy Lens Moves Easily
        • Large Range of Motion
        • Looks Cool
        • Strong Clamp

        Cons

        • Heavy

        Best Uses

        • Wildlife

        Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

        Really great for a heavier lens. Moves so easily. Great range of adjustment in tightness. I am not sure how I used my lens without this. The cost is low compared to other gimbal heads. The compromise seems to be a bit harder to use the zoom ring on the lens. The quick release plate fits nicely and tightens easily.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Great Product, Low Price

        By Emmett Photography

        from Dublin, OH

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Reviewer

        Pros

        • Attaches Firmly
        • Easy To Get Balance
        • Easy to install
        • Good Stability
        • Large Range of Motion
        • Strong Clamp

        Cons

        • Heavy

        Best Uses

        • Sports/Action
        • Wildlife

        Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

        First off let me say that this is the first Gimbal head I've used, so I can't make any comparisons. That said, I can't see why I'd pay 2-3 times the price for another Gimbal head, as this is easy to install, easy to use, easy to get the right balance and provides a great experience with my Canon 1Dx, Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens and Canon 2x converter. I thought that I could use my normal manfrotto ball head but this proved impractical and after some research decided to take a chance with this Gimbal head. I've recently been out with the birds and this has worked great in helping me capture images previously not possible.It is heavy, but this provides extra stability, which at 600mm is definitely welcome.

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        • No

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        5.0

        A great head for heavy lenses

        By WhatEver

        from Vancouver B.C.

        Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

        I am very happy with my new Manfrotto 393 head, it works well photographing birds and other wildlife. I would recommend it.

        Share this review

        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Terrfic!

        By Spectrum

        from Lehigh Valley, PA

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Attaches Firmly
        • Easy To Mount
        • Good Stability
        • Inexpensive
        • Large Range of Motion
        • Smooth Operation
        • Strong Clamp

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Birds in flight
          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Sports/Action
          • Wildlife

          Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

          Action shots with 600mm lens
          smooth and full range of motion

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

           
          5.0

          I would buy this product again

          By qais

          from oman

          About Me Pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Strong Clamp

          Cons

          • Heavy

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery

          Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

          excellent products , heavy duty , easy to use with my nikkor lens 200-400mm F4, thanks to manfroto

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

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          5.0

          Steady Long telephoto & Digiscope Images

          By Tman18

          from Laguna Beach, Ca, Hollywood Hills, CA

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Attaches Firmly
          • Good Stability
          • Good Value
          • None
          • Strong Clamp

          Cons

          • None

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Night Shots
          • Sports/Action
          • Wildlife

          Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

          I use the Manfrotto 393 with my Nikon Fieldscope ED82, Nikon Converter connected to my D7100. The converter turns the fieldscope into a 1200 mm lens. The 393 is amazing in that it provides extreme steadiness to a heavy, long combination of products. I have shot landscape images from as far away as 3 and half miles and the quality and detail is fabulous. The closest thing to this combo is a $17,000 Nikon 800mm lens.

          The 393 is 3.5 pounds, but agile enough. It requires patience to steady in the right position, but it stays set in position and works great when using a quality tripod and remote ML-L3

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          • No

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          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Works!

          By Nansel

          from Pennsylvania

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Attaches Firmly
          • Good Stability
          • Large Range of Motion
          • Strong Clamp

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Night Shots
            • Sports/Action
            • Wildlife

            Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

            Photographing birds and wildlife at a distance with my D7000 and a Sigma 50-500 lens I needed some help to steady everything up. I couldn't justify the expense of a Wimberley gimbal head no matter how obsessed I am about my "little" hobby. The Manfrotto head is rather large and it it rather heavy, but I think it needs to be to do the job. Once you are set up (very easy and great instructions) it pans and swivels smoothly and with very little effort. The head seems very well constructed, study, stable, it is easy to balance your gear and it does the job. What more is there to say?

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            • No

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            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Great Product

            By Mike_GA

            from Douglasville, GA

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Attaches Firmly
            • Good Stability
            • Large Range of Motion
            • Strong Clamp

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Wildlife

              Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

              I use this product primarily for bird and wildlife photography in conjunction with my Nikon D7100, a Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D ED-IF Lens, and a 1.4x teleconverter. The camera and lens combination mounts and balances extremely well. I was somewhat concerned because the tripod collar on the lens has received reviews of being flimsy and unstable. That is definitely not the case with the 357PLV Quick Release Plate. Lens attachment is very secure and stable with no movement or yaw.

              The gimbal head is well constructed and made of very sturdy materials. Setup is quick and easily adjusted to give you fingertip control of panning and tilt.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Solid Gimbal for My Biggest Lens

              By Seattle Dan

              from Seattle

              About Me Casual Photographer

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Attaches Firmly
              • Good Stability
              • Large Range of Motion
              • Strong Clamp

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Wildlife

                Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

                I'm not giving this five stars because it's the best gimbal head out there. It's the best gimbal for the buck. I am working it hard and it's performing up to par. I have a ten pound refractor telescope, re-purposed as a prime lens and adapted to a camera. The 5 1/2" Quick Release Plate is adequate to find balance. I photograph birds under major magnification. There can be no vibration and unless there is a heavy wind or ground vibration, there is none with this head. I'm getting feather fine images at less than half the cost of a Jobu or Wimberley; and for that, the 393 gets FIVE STARS!

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                • No

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                5.0

                Just what I needed for wildlife shots

                By Bob

                from Oklahoma

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Attaches Firmly
                • Good Stability
                • Large Range of Motion
                • Strong Clamp

                Cons

                • Heavy

                Best Uses

                • Wildlife

                Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

                This gimbal type lens support works well for shooting bird photos. I have another Manfrotto head which is great for most photos but doesn't accommodate my need to support a heavy, long lens (150-500 mm) and still be able to move it easily and track subjects. This mount allows the user to balance an extended zoom lens. It then can be panned and moved up and down smoothy. The tension can be adjusted so the lens stays put when movement is stopped. I have the lens mounted with the inside mount down rather than as pictured. Also it is relatively economical compared to alternatives. It is heavy but this contributes to stability.

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                5.0

                LARGE LENSES MADE EASY..... TO USE

                By MAXCATMAXER

                from SHERBROOKE, QC., CANADA

                About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Attaches Firmly
                • Good Stability
                • Large Range of Motion

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Night Shots
                  • Wildlife

                  Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

                  SUPER WITH 600MM LENS

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Share this review

                   
                  5.0

                  Manfrotto U shaped Gimbal

                  By Nikonbug

                  from Nashville

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Attaches Firmly
                  • Good Stability
                  • Large Range of Motion
                  • Strong Clamp

                  Cons

                  • Heavy

                  Best Uses

                  • Home
                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Night Shots
                  • Portraits
                  • Sports/Action
                  • Travel
                  • Video
                  • Wildlife

                  Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

                  This is extrememly useful, holds my d800E and a 500mm prime lens like a charm. It is big, but has to be to be stable.

                  Taking this on a 2 month trip to Alaska this summer for landscape and wildlife photos.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

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                  5.0

                  Well made smooth action

                  By weewilky

                  from Nashua NH

                  About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Attaches Firmly
                  • Good Stability
                  • Large Range of Motion
                  • Strong Clamp

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery
                    • Sports/Action
                    • Wildlife

                    Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

                    I used with my Sigma 50-500mm lens really helps with with the weight of the camera & lens. Once balanced theres no problem panning in both axis.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

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                    4.0

                    So far, so good

                    By panoman

                    from Chicago burbs

                    About Me Pro Photographer

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Attaches Firmly
                    • Good Stability
                    • Large Range of Motion
                    • Strong Clamp

                    Cons

                    • Heavy

                    Best Uses

                    • Wildlife

                    Comments about Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Gimbal Type Telephoto Lens Support:

                    I have only used this once, and it seems smooth and simple to use. I have read someone comment that it is not smooth, that has NOT been my experience. The day I used it, it was about 20 degrees F and 20 to 30mph winds making it downright frigid, so my full attention was not on the full functionality of the gimbal. I own other Manfrotto equipment and am very happy with it all.

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                    • No

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